“Do you ever feel that you are talking and talking but nobody is really listening to you? ~ Jerry Maguire
Communication is everything! And yet in today’s world with multiple platforms to connect with quick sound bites, EFFECTIVE communication is struggling. Everyone, it seems, has something to say. And everyone, it seems, is trying to get the attention of an increasingly distracted audience. So how, in this era of information overload, do you find information that resonates and ultimately engages?
People have to understand what you want. And conversely you need to understand what they want. This is vital in personal relationships but even more important when in the professional sphere… everyone needs to communicate effectively with customers, clients, vendors, and others who are important to a business.
Phil Simon, author of Message Not Received, suggests that much of [business] communication today is broken, and most people don't know how to fix it. Says Simon, "As a general rule, the quality and clarity of communication have deteriorated considerably over the past 10 years. Many people have lost the ability to communicate clearly (read: without jargon). And, by relying far too much on one medium (e-mail), we muddy our messages even further."
Here are a few possible suggestions in order to help us connect better:
1. Be as clear as possible
Unfortunately, it's all too tempting to beat around the bush in an effort to avoid hurting feelings or when we're uncertain what it is that we're talking about. Always be frank, direct, and clear in your communication. Anything less confuses your message, and it wastes everyone's time.
2. Think about your audience
The message you send should be specifically tailored to the person who is going to receive it, and the language you use should reflect that. For example, don't send out messages filled with acronyms and arcane terms if the person you're sending it to is unlikely to understand what it is you're talking about.
3. Wait a minute (or two or three) before you respond
Instead of immediately responding to each and every email you receive, take a minute to decide if it requires an immediate response or not--or if it requires any response at all. If the message is pointless or a waste of your time, then simply delete it unanswered.
4. Don't rely only on email
When it comes right down to it, email isn't always the best way to communicate with others in your organization. Sometimes making a phone call or simply walking down the hallway to communicate in person, one on one, works far better.
5. Call out the jargon
Author Phil Simon suggests that you politely point out to others when you don't understand what jargon means. Don’t be afraid to call out the other party and suggest they get real.
At the end of the day, what is the purpose of a message if it isn’t received? After all, if a tree falls in the forest, does is really make a sound? I don’t know. You tell me.